Where Eagles Dare (1969)

Genres - Action, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Adventure  |   Run Time - 155 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Mike Cummings

In this 1969 spine-tingler, allied soldiers infiltrate a mountaintop castle in the Bavarian Alps to rescue a captured general who knows the plans for D-Day. The production features parachute jumps, gunplay, explosions, spectacular scenery, and frozen hands reaching for survival on a rock face. And then there are the narrow escapes in which the heroes dodge gunfire in castle corridors, drive a bus through mountain passes, and take off in a plane thinking all is well when it isn't. In short, Where Eagles Dare is a pip of a film from start to finish. Rousing music and a lively script, adapted by Alistair MacLean from the novel he wrote, complement bully performances by Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. As British Maj. John Smith and American Lt. Morris Schaffer, raspy Burton barks commands while cool-man Eastwood nullifies Nazis with blades and bullets. Excellent performances from Michael Hordern as British Vice Adm. Rolland and Derren Nesbitt as Nazi Major von Harpen support the performances of Burton and Eastwood. But it is the action and the pacing that are the real stars. Dressed in German uniforms, the allied infiltrators take a perilous cable-car ride, get pulled through windows, and mingle with the enemy while a new danger lurks around every corner. Surprises abound as the allies discover that not everyone is who he is supposed to be. Meanwhile, the audience chews knuckles as the music builds, and a final, shocking secret manifests itself.